Marine Corps Base Quantico -- As a whole new era of technology emerges, the Quantico Base Library staff has developed the Quantico Maker Space to nurture science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills. The free workshop is open to government employees and military families the first and third Wednesday of each month from 2 to 7 p.m.
Nestled in the Gray Research Center, the library staff launched their new workshop Dec. 16. More than 20 high-tech toys and engineering devices are accessible through checkout.
While exploring the workshop, children have access to 3D printing, which offers innovative opportunities to children. American warfighters benefit from 3D printing technology in today’s theater of operations from customized drones from 3D-printed parts to 3D-printed prosthetics for wounded warriors.
“Science is in everything we do. It’s important for the youth to understand technology and how to use what they learn to solve problems,” said Richard E. Freeman, Quantico Base Library director. “We believe that the program will provide tools to small groups exploring educational opportunities.”
Kaylee Wilsher, library technician, mentioned that of all the Maker Space equipment her favorite is Makey Makey, a circuit board that transforms ordinary objects into a keyboard through conducting electricity.
“It teaches about objects that conduct electricity and how to use them in practical ways,” she said. “I could play video games and use four of my friends as the up and down arrows, or even play the piano using fruit.”
Many modern toys break traditions of gender-specific activities.
“Science is no longer just for boys.” Engineering and craft skills are developed through Roominate and Goldie Blox, modular building activities that incorporate building and wiring a dollhouse with fans and lights, said Wilsher. “We will offer toys that merge creative arts with math and science to make learning fun for all children.”
Age-appropriate high-tech apparatuses are available for children to explore building. For instance, snap circuits and snap circuit lights are a basic circuitry building kit marketed to ages eight and above. These circuits can operates radios, alarms, fans, doorbells and more.
“I encourage educators and parents to call the library to prepare sessions for children. We can focus on their needs through the use of Maker Space and our library database,” said Freeman. “Our primary goal here at the library is to educate and offer the latest technology to the base community.”
Technology affects the way the world relates to communication, transportation, finance and commerce. “We want our Quantico community to be in the forefront of these changes,” said Freeman.
The Maker Space provides entertainment, learning and discovery to inspire children to become creators of today and tomorrow. For more information about the base library’s new addition visit their blog at quanticomakerspace.wordpress.com.
Photo and story by Ida Irby, staff writer - email@example.com